On November 8th, Laura Juniper (OB 2007-2009) will be heading back to Ethiopia on a mission, serving in Bethany School in the small town of Bekoji. It will be her second visit organised by the charity Stand by Me, which rescues children and provides them with the care, love and attention every child deserves.
Laura first went to Bekoji in 2018 after hearing about the charity’s work in Ethiopia, one of the poorest counties in the world, during a church service. Struck by the imagery and unimaginable poverty, she felt compelled to act and decided to start sponsoring an 11 year old child called Samri in addition to signing up for the mission.
When Laura first met Samri, she was living with and caring for her father who was very sick, in a single mud hut which had no windows and a leaky roof. In spite of how little they had, it was their hospitality that struck Laura, with warmth and gratitude unlike anything she’d ever experienced. Sadly, about six months after Laura’s visit, Samri’s father died making her an orphan at the age of 12. She is now living in the Bekoji Children’s Home and Orphanage that Stand by Me built on the school site, and Laura is going out to see her again in November.
While it should be noted that the trip is entirely self-funded, this year Laura and her fellow team members have decided to raise money by providing food packs and funding home repairs for the families that Stand by Me supports. Many children like Samri, live in destitute conditions with their houses in dreadful disrepair, so part of their work while they are out there will be to repair homes making them more comfortable, safe and secure.
If you feel inspired to act, you can donate to the cause on the Stand by Me fundraising page by clicking here.